More new data about the state of the mobile app development industry has been released by VisionMobile based upon a survey of 10,000 mobile app developers. The report confirms a lot of things we already knew, but adds considerably more detail from the developer’s side of the equation.
For one, the majority of mobile app developers are not breaking even. VisionMobile’s report indicates that 69% of developers are making less than $1,000 per month (gross) with two-thirds of those making less than $100 monthly.
They also confirm that there is a relationship between revenue and mobile app development experience. Where developers who have produced 1-3 apps are only 15% likely to be generating over $5k per month, those with 4-9 apps are better than twice as likely to do so (27%). Fifty-two percent of developers who have produced more than 50 apps are generating over $5k monthly and over half of those are actually seeing revenues greater than $25k!
That’s logical and normal, practice makes perfect. But it does bring up sustainability, as Herbert Stein said, “Trends that cannot continue, won’t.” If left unchallenged, per InfoWorld.com,
… by 2018 only one in ten thousand consumer apps will be considered a financial success by their developers, according to the market research company.
A lot can happen in four years. Unquestionably, the number of mobile users will increase, along with the number of developers, number of total apps, number of different mobile devices, etc. These are all basic supply and demand elements which are underscored by the simple fact that presently, over 90% of mobile apps are distributed with a price tag of $0.00.
The base of in-app advertising as a primary revenue source is likely to become more fleeting. With more newer mobile devices, faster networks coming into being, more apps being produced, end users will likely end up downloading more apps. That tends to decrease the amount of time they spend on a per app basis.
The VisionMobile report places significant emphasis on the potential for enterprise app development proving to be far more lucrative than consumer-oriented development. This is an important consideration for developers, certainly those with the skills and experience will gravitate to these kinds of projects. Developing apps for businesses involves more complexity than is reflected in most free apps on the market.
Businesses are depending upon ever growing amounts of data from more sources and need to pull it altogether to simplify work for their managers and employees. For starters, they can get into corporate networking, contract negotiation, fulfillment, bridging multiple pieces of software (sometimes it is proprietary), not to mention security components.
That’s one direction to look at, but it’s not the only one. Friday, we will take a look at another direction, the same direction I’ve tended to point at since starting this blog.